It’s brekkie from another stall on the plaza and then an early walk up to the plateau that surrounds the town. It is like a desert as soon as you get away from the houses. Just different types and sizes of cacti all around. Oh and a few vultures circling around. We really do feel like we are in the midst of an old cowboy film and expect the injuns to show up any second!! We might get lost if it weren´t for the fact that it´s a circular plateau and when we hit an edge we just need to climb back down and walk anti-clockwise back to the village.
We are back in the village by lunchtime, we did get a wee bit lost but only in that we missed the river start point that Juanita had suggested a swim, but it was a good adventure all the same. There is the remains of an old waterway that we followed back, that led us directly to Juanita´s, the same waterway that cuts her garden in half.
There is a Mission in town at one end of the plaza which is where the first settlers started building and it has a small museum, so we check that out as its early yet. It turns out the museum is just a collection of old bits and bobs of miscellaneous items found in the mission. All that seems to be left of the mission itself is the church which is pretty impressive for it’s age with a huge stain glass at one end.
What’s more amazing it that Juanita has lived here for about 8/9 years and has been interviewing the locals the whole time, getting to know them and writing down the stories they have to tell, acquiring copies of family photo’s to bring the stories to life. She’s written a book from the material in Spanish and in English. It’s an incredible journey and she’s really dedicated to it.
After our walk and culture we have showers and generally chill till it’s time for our taxi. During which time Juanita gets pretty excited as her pet tortoise wakes up unexpectedly from its hibernation. It’s pretty big and pretty hungry too. The dogs don’t seem to mind which is just as well as she’s munching away on cucumber and flower petals. Juanita has called her Pepina the female version of the Spanish word for cucumber 🙂
The taxi does arrive on time, although we don´t get a chance to say our goodbyes as Juanita is still having her siesta, and we get to the bus station in good time. We opt for a bus as far as Guerrero Negro because it´s all we have money for. Initially we thought we´d stop here as the town sits on the 28th parallel, which is the time line where we need to move our clocks back.
But we think getting straight on the overnight bus to Ensenada is the best plan.
No sooner have we left the station than we are stopped at an army checkpoint where everyone’s bags are searched. It´s tedious but reassuring if they are serious about clamping down hard on drug trafficking. When we arrive in Guerrero Negro we have an absolute mission to get cash. We saw a machine at a petrol station on the way in, but it’s out of cash. We get directions to the next one which takes us a 40 min walk along the main street, several times we think we have either missed it or misheard the directions, but it’s not like we can ask, “Excuse me can you tell us where the nearest cash machine is?” (Read: I´m going to get loads of money out the bank, do you want to rob me?)
Eventually we do snap and ask at another fuel station to find it is only 500m further on…luckily we are not doing this walk with our big bags, the bus station are looking after them. It has to be said though, we are glad we are getting another bus and bot staying the night, this town has no redeeming features! Well maybe just one, we stop for hot dogs at a street vendor on the way back to the bus station, and they´re fab, jalapeño stuffed dog, bacon wrapped dog and lots more. We even impress ourselves by managing to chat with the owner and the other customers while we eat.
The onward bus is due at 2230, but again is nearly an hour late – it too must have been searched at a check-point we guess. We try and settle down for a good night’s rest, fingers crossed